02 October 2008
Moro group records 245,522 victims of war; lambasts AFP’s add’l P10-B
COTABATO CITY – A Moro human rights group here expresses fresh
apprehension that number of innocent civilian victims will magnify with
the persistent military operation against MILF commanders Kato, Bravo and
Pangalian, now that Ramadhan had concluded.
The Kawagib Moro Human Rights Group has documented, since June, 14 types
of human rights violations and International Humanitarian Law (IHL) that
has affected 245,522 individuals from the three provinces of Central
Mindananao – North Cotabato , Maguindanao and Shariff Kabunsuan.
Bulk of these cases are victims of forcible evacuation due to
indiscriminate firing, shelling and aerial bombing while the gravest human
rights violation transpired was the massacre of Daya family in Barangay
Tee, Datu Piang, Maguindanao, where six are killed – four are children and
a pregnant teenager.
Bai Ali Indayla, the group’s spokesperson, said, “Moro residents of Datu
Piang and Datu Saudi Ampatuan, reported that around 70 houses were
conflagrated and 18 families were divested of their properties by military
elements designated in their communities. And these violations transpired
while Muslims observe Ramadhan.”
Moreover, Kawagib criticizes the Armed Forces of the Philippines ’ (AFP)
additional P10 billion-budget in the ground of an effective hunt against
their so-called ‘rogue MILF commanders’ and materiel upgrade. Defense
secretary Gilbert Teodoro Jr.. proposed the additional budget which
amounts to a 17.7% increase in the P56.6 billion already earmarked under
the 2009 national budget.
Indayla stressed that instead of additional war paraphernalia, the
proposed additional budget is of big help to supplement assistance to
“The AFP’s bombs and bullets target not only Commanders Kato, Bravo and
Pangalian but large number of innocent people. Much has been killed and
it’s very disheartening that our military troops that supposed to be the
‘people’s safeguard’ only treat the victims as collateral damage,” Indayla
Further, the group appeals to the conflicting parties (GRP and MILF) to
heed the cry of innocent civilians, respect the rights of the Bangsamoro
people and return to the negotiating table.
A National Interfaith Humanitarian Mission, to be spearheaded by Kawagib
and several rights and church groups, will be conducted this month in
Central Mindanao .
“We call all sectors to support the mission so that we can give a little
relief to our Muslim and Christian brethrens,” Indayla concluded. #
BAI ALI INDAYLA